For today's Dynamic Team and Coach Preview we head into North Carolina to Leesville Road High School to preview the Pride and Coach Guy Civitello. After a 17-6 outing in 2014, Coach Civitello and the Pride look to continue their winning ways in 2015. In 2015 the Pride will be lead by a solid group of seven Seniors who look to make a deeper run than their 2nd round 2-1 playoff loss to Apex. Those seven Seniors Dillon Cooper, Jack Conley, Andrew Papp, Ryan Sande, Jakob Arnold, Connor Eller and Conner Tracy will all contribute in major ways for the Pride in 2015. Coach Civitello is an extremely respected coach and great teacher of the game. He is also the Head Coach of the 17u Evoshield Canes Central squad. Please enjoy Coach Civitello's interview with Dynamic Baseball.
Coaches Name: Guy Civitello
High School: Leesville Road High School
City/State: Raleigh, NC
Classification: (example AAA) AAAA
District/Conference: CAP 8
School Mascot: Pride
2014 Overall Record: 17-6
Season Ended with: A 2-1 loss to Apex H.S. in the 2nd Round of the NCHSAA State Playoffs.
Top returning players:
Dillon Cooper SS/P Sr, Jack Conley C Sr, Andrew Papp P Sr, Ryan Sande P/MIF Sr, Jakob Arnold 1B/P Sr, Connor Eller OF Sr, Conner Tracy P Sr.
Noah Cooke 3B/OF Jr, Derrick Barnes 3B/OF/P Jr, Will Wheeler 1B/P Jr
Brief statement about your outlook and expectations:
We are going to be a senior heavy team and we will need to rely on those seniors to lead us. We try and pride ourselves on our pitching and defense and we will have to be solid in both of those aspects of the game this year. We hope to be contenders in a very tough conference this year.
Link to schedule:
How many years have you been coaching, and what got you into the business?
I am going into my 13th year of coaching and 3rd as the head coach at Leesville Road. I have always had a passion for the game of baseball and working with young people. When my playing career was over, I knew I needed to find a way to stay a part of the game. Coaching was the obvious route.
What would you say the most rewarding thing about being a baseball coach is?
For me, the most rewarding part of coaching is when it clicks for one of your athletes. When one of your players is working so hard on an aspect of their game and the light bulb goes off for them and they get it.
How do you balance the time demands of coaching, and being with your family?
I think the biggest thing is having a very supportive and understanding family. My wife knows how much I love coaching and she does everything she can to support me. Having two young boys does make it difficult because I enjoy being with them so much. It is great getting them up to the field after practice or during a game and having them run around.
Who is the best player you have ever coached, and who is the best player you have ever coached against and why?
It is hard to pick just one player because over my years I have coached a lot of very talented players. Collectively, I am not sure I have ever coached a more talented team then the 14U Canes team I coached a few years back. On that team we had Stephen Scott- Vanderbilt, Brad Debo- South Carolina, Bryse Wilson- UNC, Cory Wood- Coastal Carolina, Ryan Jeffers- UNCW, Sammy Chapman- Richmond, among other very talented players. The best player I have coached against is Jason Heyward now with the St. Louis Cardinals. I coached against him when I was coaching the CT Bombers and he was playing for the East Cobb Astros.
What does the term being a good teammate mean to you, and why is it important?
Having a bunch of players who are great teammates is what takes teams to the next level. Being a good teammate means being someone who puts the people on the team before himself. It is someone who is supportive and encouraging of their teammates. Getting a bunch of guys to put the team in front of their individual success is what makes good teams great.
What do you think the biggest difference between high school players today versus when you played?
I think there are a few things that are different with today’s athletes versus the athletes of my day. I think the athletes today have a lot more opportunities to become good players and showcase their talents. I also feel that today’s athletes as a whole feel that they are owed a scholarship just because they play. In my day, kids knew they had to be an elite player and work hard to earn a college scholarship.
Who is your favorite coach of all time, and why?
One of my favorite coaches of all time was my brother’s college coach Joe Tonelli, who is now the head coach at the University of Bridgeport. Up until meeting Coach Tonelli and watching him coach, I thought the only way to coach was through using fear. Through watching him, I learned you can get players to play hard for you and respect you by building relationships with them.
If you had a day away from the baseball field what would you spend it doing?
If I had a day away from baseball I would spend it with my loving wife and two boys. We would do whatever my wife wanted to do because they are always making sacrifices for me to coach. Hopefully, it would be something sports-related and not shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond or something.
Who is going to win the College World Series this year, and who is your preseason pick to win the MLB World Series and why on both accounts?
Obviously, the Tarheels will win the College World Series this year. They are extremely talented this year and Coach Fox and the rest of their staff does a great job. Even though I am a Mets fan, I think the Washington Nationals are going to win the World Series this year. Their pitching staff is just too good and they got some studs in their line up like Harper.